Mass Refugee Influx and the Limits of Public International Law


Situations of mass refugee influx represent by their very size and urgency daunting evidence of human suffering and cruelty. Consequently, the level and quality of refugee protection in times of crisis is tested. The choices to be made have to take into due consideration the prevalent conditions and restraints. They will probably always result in compromises. The question is whom or what the compromises are about?
The focus in the present volume has been set on a detailed examination of some legal preconceptions commonly found in situations of mass refugee in-migration. The author concludes that situations when refugees arrive en masse do not, as a rule, qualify as a public emergency that threatens the life of the nation under contemporary international human rights law, and that mass expulsion of refugees as an emergency measure is prohibited at all times when this entails the risk of violating rights immune to derogation.

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Abbreviations. Select Table of Cases. Acknowledgements. Part One: Introduction. 1. Aim and Scope. 2. Basic Concepts and Discourse. Part Two: The Concept of International Protection as a Joint Responsibility of States. 3. The Principle of International Cooperation - Aspects of Its Nature and Content. Part Three: Aspects of Physical Protection in Law and Practice. 4. Humanitarian Actors and International Law Obligations. 5. The Prohibition of Mass Expulsion and Refoulement. 6. Mass Expulsion in Practice. 7. Summary of Conclusions. Postscript: Protection of Aliens in a Historical Perspective. Annex 1: The Sphere Project, The Humanitarian Charter. Annex 2: Updated UNHCR Guidelines for the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme of Kosovar Refugees in FYROM, Extracts. Select Bibliography. Index.